Key promises at the 21st UN Climate Conference of Parties (COP21) included $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020. This month, politicians meet in the Polish city of Katowice for another climate summit – COP24.
The Paris agreement was praised by politicians, who said it cleared a path for huge progress. But what have the three years since the deal been like for pioneers and innovators driving real, frontline advances in the world of sustainable energy? See what’s changed for a handful of Ashden Award winners.
Impax Ashden Award for Energy Innovation
Smart software firm wants more government action
In 2015 we gave Demand Logic an Ashden Award for their work tackling ‘energy insanities’ in commercial properties. These operational issues leave commercial buildings costing more to run and causing comfort problems, including heating and cooling the same space at the same time.
Since winning their award the company’s turnover has risen sharply. They are helping to deliver thousands more tonnes of carbon savings every year, equivalent to the emissions from about 5,000 homes. They have picked up nine awards in the last 12 months alone, including the prestigious Sir Peter Parker Award. “It’s been a great year!” says Chairman, Sonny Masero.
But did a breakthrough in Paris help Demand Logic? Sonny says: “I’m not optimistic about where we’ve got to between COP21 and COP24.” The UK government signed the COP21 deal, but Sonny argues they should be doing more in the commercial property and business sectors. “The focus on commercial property is very weak – there’s a policy shortage.” He says the government should commit to practical steps such as the introduction of operational ratings for buildings and better enforcement of building regulations.
He says the wider business environment does mean investors are more likely to put property companies under pressure on their sustainability performance. He adds investors now expect greater transparency on climate-related financial risk – “they are looking at climate change seriously”.
Winning the award brought a host of benefits for Demand Logic. Sonny says: “Having worked in this field for many years, I know software solutions have been undervalued. Ashden helped validate what we were doing to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.” Financial advice and marketing resources from Ashden have also helped the organisation grow.